Via IEEE Spectrum:
Today, the Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP) announced that Israeli team SpaceIL is the first to sign a verified launch contract that covers the first leg of its journey to the moon. The educational nonprofit’s spacecraft is slated to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the second half of 2017.
This is huge news for the GLXP, which is offering at least US $20 million to the first private team to land on the moon and perform certain tasks. The lunar deadline is currently set at the end of 2017, but a more pressing deadline has been looming for quite some time.
Makerarm is an all-in-one robotic device that functions as a 3D printer, laser cutter, drawing and ink printer, and a fabricator and assembly machine – that fits on a countertop. The machine is capable of printing high quality objects at a fraction of the usual cost thanks to its precision joints and high-powered lasers. Makerarm also boasts a 30-inch diameter work area, making it the largest out of all 3D printers available on the market.
Makerarm is on Kickstarter.
From Life Magazine, 1985. Wikipedia article.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest narratives in the world, got a surprise update last month when the Sulaymaniyah Museum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq announced that it had discovered 20 new lines of the Babylonian-Era poem of gods, mortals, and monsters. Since the poem has existed in fragments since the 18th century BC, there has always been the possibility that more would turn up. And yet the version we’re familiar with — the one discovered in 1853 in Nineveh — hasn’t changed very much over recent decades. The text remained fairly fixed — that is, until the fall of Baghdad in 2003 and the intense looting that followed yielded something new.
Moon Express says it has reserved three lunar lander launches from a startup called Rocket Lab starting in 2017, with an eye toward putting robots on the moon’s surface and winning the lion’s share of the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize.
If the mission is successful, Moon Express could become the first privately backed venture to achieve a soft lunar landing.
After decades of progress, the speeds of microprocessors stalled around the early 2000s at 3GHz to 5GHz, mainly because silicon is reaching its physical limits. Carbon nanotubes, by contrast, can operate as transistors (or tiny electrical switches) at dimensions smaller than 10 nanometers, or 10,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. That’s well below the size of today’s leading silicon technology (14 nanometers).
But those nanotubes are like spaghetti, and they have to be marshaled and controlled precisely to function as electronic circuitry. The contact points for the nanotubes create a lot of electrical resistance, which hinders overall performance. IBM has developed a novel way, at the atomic level, to weld — or bond — the metal molybdenum to the ends of carbon nanotubes to create a completely new contact structure.
Using this approach, the researchers in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., demonstrated the smallest contacts for carbon nanotubes at 9 nanometers, where the performance did not suffer despite the tiny dimensions. IBM’s carbon nanotube results satisfy the contact requirement all the way up to the 1.8-nanometer node (four technology generations of manufacturing technology away), showing that the technology can scale sooner than the industry thinks, IBM said.